Joshua 23:14 - Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
This promise has two sides. Side one - God will always answer our prayer with the grace to endure any pain or illness. Yes, thankfully God is with us in our pain and answers our prayers with grace. But the second side is, this means I’m going to be living with the pain. I know in my heart God loves me. And, I’m not really angry at God, but somehow I struggle with being angry with my body. Why would my body betray me in this way? Why can’t it just leave me alone! But then I remember the first side – I can endure this. I can learn to live with this. I can be an example to others of God’s faithful comfort, but all of God’s promises come with something you have to do to receive it – walk it out. So take God’s hand and let him lead you even if the pain never goes away.
Isaiah 54:10 - “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
She limped down the hallway keeping her head down for she didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone. How could this have happened to a believer in Jesus? This wasn’t supposed to happen. If only I’d had enough faith, she thought. But she didn’t know at the time that she was judging herself. No one else would be cruel enough to do so in such a deep way. But she pulled her cloak of shame tighter around her body as she headed for the door. Do you feel this way when you go out in public? Having a disability, whether it’s one that visible or invisible, can leave the afflicted one with serious doubts about themselves. They also can feel like they’re being punished. But God would not be so cruel as to punish us when we do something wrong. God is always ready to forgive a broken heart. He sees our hearts and knows that we are human. And humans can do things that are wrong. We must see that we live out the consequences for our actions, and that is a form of disciple, but God isn’t waiting to punish us. He is ready to offer us forgiveness and love us back into his arms.
Psalm 37:39, 40 – The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in times of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Loser. Annoying. Cry baby. Not worth the time. Words that can cut to the bone. Though it hurts immensely when someone speaks cruelly to your face, it may be that all the while they are hiding a hurtful monster inside because of their past. How you are spoken to as a child can remain buried inside. It may be that the one hurting you is just trying to make themselves feel better and it has nothing to do with you. How do we escape feeling so deeply bruised inside, and try to understand what is really going on? Remember that though God cares for us, he also cares for the verbally abusive person. I’m not saying that we’re to become someone else’s punching bag. This takes wisdom and discernment. Something you may not have when you are the person being hurt. Ask God to show you what you can say to stop the abuse, but leave the door open to show compassion to the life of another.
Zechariah 7:9 - This is what the LORD Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.”
With a chronic health condition, many times people can see our pain just by looking at us. Whether it be walking with a cane or clutching our belly, the pain is visible. With emotional pain sometimes you can tell when someone is hurting, but for the most part, emotional pain and loss are the “invisible” pains. Yet, even though it can’t be seen, often emotional pain hurts just as much, if not even more than physical pain. This calls for us to turn up the dial on our sensitivity to people who are suffering. Pay attention to cues that point towards depression, such as staying home all of the time or downcast eyes. Notice a person who may be talking or moving faster than they normally do as this can point to high anxiety. All emotional pain needs to be seen not as just someone who is “acting out” but one who is looking for someone, anyone, who will try to understand them. You don’t have to be prepared for what you would say the next time you sense someone’s emotional pain. They’ll point the way for us to show compassion. Don’t let the moment slip by when you sense the pain, God can give you the words, and actions you need to take to help the hurting make it through another day. Don’t give up on them. Choose to take the first step toward them. God will do the rest.
Lamentation 3:21-22 - Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
We make mistakes. We hurt someone’s feelings. We may even feel that God couldn’t possibly love us. But God is the God of compassion and His love for us never fails. When has a friend or God shown you compassion?
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Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.